It has been several months since our last official communication concerning ACISS specialist pay. There have been many developments on this file; we assessed that given the recent work that has been done and changes expected to be implemented in mid-December, we felt this to be the right time to re-engage with our community and our soldiers. Please disseminate this message to all concerned personnel.

BACKGROUND

CDS Order 046-17 granted Spec Pay 1 status to all the members of sub-occupations ACISS- CST, ACISS-IST, former LCIS Techs that belonged to those sub-occupations, and to former LCIS Techs in the CISTM sub-occupation. Unfortunately, the order provided distinct Spec Pay 1 sub-divisions for members that were former LCIS Techs and those that were qualified post ACISS implementation that were not former LCIS Techs. Contrary to applicable policy documents, CDS Order 046-17 did not include junior sub-divisions to account for the members that were not in possession of all the prerequisites.

This situation imposed severe constraints in the efficient management of the overall occupation by the Occupation Authority (OA), and prompted a joint RCCS/G1 CA initiative to correct this unfortunate deviation from applicable policies. A discussion was initiated in early spring 2018 with Director Personnel Generation Requirements (DPGR) to seek their assistance in correcting the situation. The initial consensus reached was that Sub-divisions 00362-08 and 00362-09 were to become the qualified sub-divisions for CST and IST sub-occupations regardless of their method of qualification and that sub-divisions 00362-03 and 00362-04 were to become the junior sub-divisions for non-qualified members of the CST and IST sub-occupations.  At the time, there was a significant urgency to act promptly ahead of Guardian implementation as those vital transactions could not be performed in a Guardian environment for an undetermined time period and not sooner than late fall 2018.

Through the spring the files of 522 qualified ACISS-CST and ACISS-IST members were processed expeditiously and successfully by Director of Human Resources and Information Management (DHRIM) using the existing Human Resource Management System (HRMS) environment. Director Military Pay and Allowances Processing (DMPAP) pay processing actions halted shortly after that as they discovered inconsistencies in data and the absence of an updated CDS Order failed to sanction further pay processing. DPGR proposed to create distinct junior sub-divisions (00362-11 (CST) and 00362-12 (IST)), removing the requirement for the CDS to issue a new Order reflective of the needed changes. The generation of a new Interim MES IP will allow to perfectly align the prerequisites with CDS Order 046-17, thus alleviating unintended data inconsistencies.  Furthermore, the use of single Spec Pay 1 sub-divisions with accompanying junior sub-divisions in support of the ACISS-CST and ACISS-IST sub-occupations now conforms to current CAF policy when Spec Pay is allocated to an occupational trade group. DMPAP resumed processing of the CSTs and ISTs in September and had to halt at the end of October due to the T4 season upon them.

INTERIM MES IP

A Military Employment Structure (MES) Implementation Plan (IP) for ACISS CSTs and ISTs is planned for implementation on 15 Dec 18. This MES IP will make structural changes to the ACISS occupation and create junior sub-divisions for the ACISS-CST and ACISS-IST sub-occupations to account for entry level apprentices (those not yet DP 2.1 qualified) and senior sub-divisions (fully qualified journeypersons). Those in CST and IST sub-occupations were provisionally allocated Spec 1 Pay due to CDS Order 046/17, 13 Dec 17. The implementation of CDS Order 046/17 without the simultaneous creation of junior sub-divisions resulted in ‘junior’ members being paid as if they were entitled to specialist pay, an unintended outcome that forced pre-determined pay to be placed on the pay guides of affected members. All other occupations which are in receipt of specialist pay have both junior and qualified (senior) pay sub-divisions in accordance with CANFORGEN 111/04 ADM(HR-MIL) 059 061843Z AUG 04. This MESIP will create the same conditions for ACISS CST and ACISS IST members.

Once implemented, those in CST or IST sub-occupation members that are DP1.1 qualified, but who are not yet DP2.1 qualified will be moved from the existing 00362-01 (ACISS), 00362-03 (CST) or 00362-04 (IST) sub-divisions into the newly created 00362-11 (CST) or 00362-12 (IST) junior sub-divisions. This will be a bulk process performed by DHRIM staff and as such, minimal staff effort is required on the part of units and organizations. Position information can be found in Annex E of the attached MES IP.  Note that only some position characteristics will change (e.g. rank, sub-occupation, job), but not position numbers. Of further note is that the changes being implemented by this MES IP will be overwritten upon the stand up of three new occupations planned to replace ACISS in late 2019.

CSTs/ISTs RECENTLY DP2.1 QUALIFIED NOT COVERED BY INTERIM MES IP

Recent queries have identified 55 additional CST and IST members that are qualified but whose names do not appear in the Interim MES IP.  These individuals will require historical corrections to be made in HRMS/Guardian in order to set the conditions under which their pay guides may be balanced.  Work is ongoing to determine the way forward for these members, but an attempt is being made to have the corrections completed at the same time as those whose names appear in the Interim MES IP

UPDATE BY SUBOCCUPATION

  1. FORMER LCIS TECHS

ACISS members who were former LCIS Techs are entitled to specialist pay retroactive to 1 October 2011. To date, 780 files of former LCIS Techs have been completed.  An additional two former LCIS Tech files still need to be processed. Should an ACISS-LCIS Tech indicate that they are not being paid at the Pay Trade Group and Incentive Pay Credit Level indicated in CCPS, pay offices shall follow the normal technical assistance procedure to contact Mil Pay Ops. We want to ensure that every last soldier is correctly compensated.

2. CST / IST

IAW CDS order 050/16, CST members were inadvertently granted Spec Pay 1 status while the intent was to rescind the original CDS order that had put former LCIS Tech under pay protection.  This unfortunate situation caused the pay accounts of the affected members to reflect inaccurate balances.  CDS Order 046/17 was issued to alleviate much of the negative effect resulting from CDS Order 050/16 as well as addressing critical shortcomings in the pay structure of specialized RCCS members.  IAW CDS Order 046/17, in addition to former LCIS Tech, IST and CST members were also granted specialist pay retroactive to 1 Oct 11. As mentioned above, the overwhelming majority of the former LCIS Tech files have so far been corrected.  The second order of priority was to correct the files of negatively affected CST and IST members of which 336 have also been corrected with 186 remaining to process (IST 46 remaining and CST 140 remaining). The implementation of CDS Order 046/17 was done in a manner to prevent any negative effects to the IST population, aside from having to go through the same historical correction process performed on the Former LCIS Tech and CST members before being in receipt of Spec Pay. The fact that this work cannot be done concurrently – as it is being completed by the same authorities and limited resources within DHRIM and DMPAP and the sheer volume of files to be processed results in extremely long delays.

3. CST – AKOR BEFORE AKOX

An advisory was sent in Jan 18 warning that any CST member who had received retroactive pay, but, who had qualified AKOR before AKOX, should be very cautious about spending all of their money because it is highly likely that some of it will be recuperated. To reiterate, when CDS Order 050/16 erroneously granted specialist pay to CST in Jan 17, the pay authority based the backdated payment on the day the soldier obtained DP 2.1 (not taking into account DP 2.0 – AKOX). This should not have happened and this oversight was only discovered shortly after implementation in early 2017. We encourage all units to look closely at these situations on an individual basis to mitigate the financial impact on our soldiers. While we have no mechanism to prevent a recuperation of monies paid between the date the soldier achieved AKOR (the date they were paid IAW CDS Order 050/16) and the date they achieved the latest of AKOR and AKOX (the date they should have been paid IAW CDS Order 046/17) – there are various courses open to alleviate the burden. The chain of command may contact RCCS or G1 Personnel Policy to discuss individual cases.

4. CISTM

Recently, we have received many questions concerning CISTM and specialist pay, namely, why we have a structure in which a CST or IST Sgt will be promoted only to lose their specialist pay. This is a valid question, and we want all affected WOs and MWOs to know that we asked the same question to the authority which evaluates specialist pay. CISTM was considered for specialist pay in 2013 and at that time authorities unequivocally stated CISTM was not eligible for specialist pay. Subsequent efforts by RCCS to petition for its consideration (2016, 2017) met with a similar inability to persuade the policy holder of our logic. Despite our unwavering assessment that IST and CST WOs remain specialists after promotion from Sgt, based on the system for specialist pay evaluation by Director of Pay Policy Development (DPPD), the CISTM occupation did not meet the threshold to be assigned to the specialist pay trade group. To be clear, former LCIS Techs who retain specialist pay as CISTMs are receiving it because of their former status as LCIS Techs – and this is the only reason. We are now evaluating the future trade structure of ACISS to ensure that future evolutions of the MOSID address this discrepancy and ensure that for applicable occupations, ranks from Cpl to MWO are considered for specialist pay assignment. In the interim, we continue to ask for patience, reinforcing that although we may not have been able to have specialist recognition bestowed on WO-MWO ranks of CST and IST at this time, we are laying the groundwork for the long term compensation of deserving ACISS members from Cpl to MWO.

T4 IMPLICATIONS

Please note that retroactive pay adjustments may result in the requirement for T4 amendment(s) for previous years.  This will be done automatically by Mil Pay Ops, an incident is not required by unit.  Upon completion of any T4 corrections, the amended T4 will be uploaded into EMMA within three weeks and a hardcopy will also be mailed.  Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA) and Ministère du Revenue du Québec (MRQ) will receive an electronic version and will automatically reassess the T4.  However, the member can request a reassessment by filling out a T1 ADJ form (https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/forms-publications/forms/t1-adj.html).  For further clarification please contact your unit pay office.

REQUESTS FOR PAY REVIEW

We are aware that many of you had already estimated what amount of retroactive pay you should have received – and, have subsequently discovered that you were paid a lesser amount. First, our leadership advises against this practice of self-calculation. Only the analysts in DMPAP are qualified to calculate retroactive pay transactions given the complexity of rebuilding approximately 400-800 separate transactions and taking into account several General Pay Increases (GPI). However, some soldiers have taken the time to do this exercise. If, based on some form of quantifiable evidence they believe that they should have received additional money – then we suggest that (through the chain of command) they request a review of their pay account. It is cautioned, however, that if such a review reveals that a soldier was overpaid rather than underpaid, recovery action will be initiated and there will be nothing that can be done to avoid it. As a note in accordance with CRA/MRQ, taxes withheld upon the initial net monthly entitlement (NME) is lesser than any pay entitlements actioned in a member’s pay account after that action. As an example, if a member receives $5000 NME on the first of the month the person may be taxed at 26% however any adjustments such as a promotion effective the 2nd will be taxed at a much higher rate. This is a CRA/MRQ ruling and would probably explain the difference in pay between members.

If an MPAO would like to query the results of a completed ACISS account or of a closed ASSYST ticket regarding an ACISS account, please submit/re-submit the ticket stating – ‘Completed ACISS Account’ in the message body, this will ensure the helpdesk does not close your ticket. Please ensure that you indicate what is wrong and provide proof of the specific error.

PENDING RELEASES

If DMPAP has received all of the required transactions from DHRIM, they are able to action any individual release, but not before January 2019 unless there are exceptional circumstances identified. The only files that cannot be actioned are those involving the Junior Sub division.

As some soldiers approach release, it is understandable that there may be a level of uncertainty and stress not knowing how individual pay situations will affect retirement income. We are working with DMPAP regarding retired members and what mechanism will be used to give them the money that they are owed and how this will affect their pension. Any soldier who is releasing should be informed that RCCS leadership remains responsive to them to provide updates on their pay situation until such a time that it resolved.

RETIRED MEMBERS

Retired ACISS members should contact the Release Benefits Administration (RBA) section in Director General Compensation and Benefits (DGCB) which will in turn submit an ASSYST ticket to Mil Pay Ops if further action is required.

URGENT CASES

If you have a member that requires pay account action due to extraordinary circumstances (ex: retiring prior to year-end, financial hardship), please send/re-send the ASSYST ticket with ‘URGENT – member requires ACISS action due to extraordinary circumstances’ and these will be actioned promptly.

DMPAP – RESUMPTION OF ACISS WORK

DMPAP’s Mil Pay Ops section will not be able to work on ACISS accounts before 31 December 2018; and are aiming to start correcting the accounts starting at the end of January 2019. Work was ceased on the accounts due to the amount of time necessary to adjust member’s taxes on their T4 and the lack of resources to complete this task prior to year-end.

Due to the vast amount of ASSYST tickets requesting the status of individual ACISS accounts, Mil Pay Ops will be bulk closing all the ACISS tickets and have advised their Helpdesk to close any others upon receipt.  Mil Pay Ops is planning on restarting work on the ACISS IST and CST pay accounts in the February – March time frame and are hoping to finalize all of them within two to three months.

COMMUNICATIONS

The passage of clear and accurate communication is vital to our community in respect to these challenging developments to ensure soldiers receive proper compensation. To this end we have attempted to provide the most accurate information available, trying to balance the need to accurately inform against issues which evolve weekly. We will continue to provide as much information as we responsibly can, as quickly as we can; any soldier who wishes a more timely update is free to request one from us through the chain of command and they will receive a SITREP accordingly. In short, negativity – especially pessimism based on conjecture – will not assist in achieving the end state and is harmful to our community and credibility.

Questions may be sent to Major D.L. Allen at G1 Personnel Policy (613) 971-7282.

Yours in Signals,
Mark Parsons
Colonel